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are able to learn about historical
While we continue to provide you with accurate and timely news and information,
we realize that we need
Today, Assyrian youths are being raised bi-culturally, which can raise
many poignant and confusing issues
Zinda magazine would like to introduce a new column to its readers: "DEAR
ZINDINA". "Zindina" is a first
We trust that this addition to the magazine will interest our readers and open them up to another mindset in which to better understand ourselves in Diaspora. In gaining a better understanding of our future audience, we can better convey the importance of maintaining our heritage in a bi-cultural environment.
Please send your questions to DEAR ZINDINA at email@example.com.
WHY 7TH OF AUGUST IS THE ASSYRIAN MARTYRS’ DAY?
Assyrian history is replete with the martyrdom of thousands who were massacred for the sake of their beliefs, religious or national. Clearly, too, the number of Assyrians massacred before August 1933 especially during the period of World War I is far greater than the number killed in Simel. This raises the question why Assyrians have zeroed in on the August 1933 tragedy over all others. More specifically, what motivated the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) in 1970 to designate the 7th of August each year as the "official" Assyrian Martyrs Day.
The rationale for selecting this particular date over several alternative ones forms the central motif of my booklet, 7th of August, The Day of Assyrian Martyrs - Symbol of the Nation’s Immortality. Here are some of the considerations.
1. The elements and trappings of nationhood typically include a flag, a slogan, an anthem, a monument to the unknown soldier (or martyrs), heroic names and legacies. The date of August 7th is a rallying symbol expressing the maturity of Assyrian national and political awareness. It underlines the importance of their national entity, and in some situations making the ultimate sacrifice for the Assyrian nation, as was the case in August 1933. It is worth noting that, at the same period, i.e., in early 1970’s, at the peak of national consciousness, a national flag, an anthem and April 1st were declared national symbols.
2. The tragedy of Simel is relatively recent, and it serves more effectively than previous massacres the contemporary ideology relating to the Assyrian nation and its politics. This is consistent with a principle of political science which holds that the emphasis on contemporary events is a better than older historical ones as a rallying point for national zeal and awareness.
3. Most of the national movement figures of 1933 were alive until recently. In addition, many eyewitnesses survive to this day. This first-hand attestation is not only more reliable, but also more powerful than events which are recorded in books or preserved as oral history. Assyrian nationalists of the second and even of the third generation have been personally moved by the remembrances of those who lived in the eye of the storm.
4. The last three decades has seen the emergence of a number of Assyrian political parties and nationalistic organizations. Like all political entities, these new organizations needed to be invested with acts of heroism and examples of supreme sacrifice, as a means of fortifying their resolve. Still vividly in the memory of many, Assyrian political parties found the tragic event of 1933 to be a timely, and most suitable symbol for the support of national aspirations, no matter the cost.
5. The Simel massacre (and its contemporaneous Assyrian national movement) has spawned a plethora of books and other documentation in Assyrian, English, Arabic, Russian and Farsi. This unusual amount of writing served to increase awareness of the event, and eased the way to elevating its national symbolism. Worth mentioning among the many works on this subject are Mar Shimun Eshai’s The Assyrian Tragedy (author ‘Anonymous’ at the time of publication); Malik Yacu’s Assyrians and the Two World Wars, and Yousef Malik’s The British Betrayal of Assyrians. These particular works are all the more significant because they were authored by individuals who were considered leaders of the Assyrian national movement of 1933, and who remained highly visible several years after.
6. The Simel massacre and its high celebration is unique in another way. For the first time, this event was framed by the Assyrian national movement in terms more apart from religious considerations than was ever the case in previous Assyrian tragedies. While the old leadership possessed strong allegiance to the church and the tribal system, underneath there were nationalist embers. It seemed only natural that such a budding national movement would inspire patriotic fervor, propelling the people to the next stage, including political parties and national organizations.
7. The August event killed thousands of Assyrians, and resulted in widespread looting and the obliteration of farms and entire villages. Obviously such savagery has a major physical component. But the ripple effect was far-reaching, with psychological, political and legal consequences. From the point of view of the Iraqis, it led to characterizing Assyrians as a mutinous, renegade and alien minority, one which had migrated from Turkey only to be a disruptive British tool (a fifth column) in the newly-independent country of Iraq. In turn, this Iraqi attitude translated into a series of unfair laws whose inequities have had to be borne by ensuing generations of Assyrians. A particular onerous example is the problem of obtaining the certificate of Iraqi nationality, a difficult task for all Assyrians and even more so for any known follower of the Mar Shimun. Ironically, the inherent bias of such laws towards Assyrians played into the perpetuation of Simel as a watershed event, and its consequent echo on Assyrian national consciousness.
The foregoing provides a justification for selecting August 7, 1933, as the Day of Assyrian Martyrs. At the same time, efforts should be made not to allow one event to overshadow the many others which have claimed thousands of Assyrian lives. With the passage of time, massacres of olden times become shrouded in the clouds of history, unless we the people refused to abandon these sacrifices. Having said that, it is understandable for the morale of the nation that the focus should be on one event with a specific date. Simel symbolizes all of our other tragedies as well, and our national aspirations. The AUA was right to declare it our day of mourning and of national pride.
GEORGE KIRAZ AND THE SYRIAC DIGITAL LIBRARY
The Assyrian community faces an issue as serious to our national identity as the US Census 2000 issue. The Syriac Digital Library, endorsed by Zinda Magazine, needs careful consideration so that a few years down the road, we do not find that we have sold our heritage with our own hands. We cannot afford to support a project that is uncertain in its goals and confused in its breadth. It brings the seeds of considerable underlying danger. In the case of the US Census issue, we found ourselves having to defend a position that had been eroded through efforts made while we were napping. When we finally realized the extent of the damage done at the US Census Bureau, our only choice was compromise. The situation we face now with regard to our heritage and identity is similar. In the following few paragraphs, I will lay out the danger as I see it from the vantage of six months of familiarity with this issue. You may ask why I did not air my reservations earlier. I did not think that any groups outside the small academic circle that works closely with the Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox Church would support such a project. Now the situation is changed: George Kiraz has won endorsement from Zinda Magazine, and he is making the rounds of conventions speaking about this project (and his encyclopedia project) in the hope of raising funds. He is scheduled to speak at the San Jose AANF Convention.
Let me begin by stating, without reservation, that I find Dr. George Anton Kiraz a personable, intelligent, enterprising and ambitious young man. Born in Bethlehem, of Harput ancestry, his family of merchants has nurtured many generations of supporters of the Western Assyrian Church, at the time of his grandfather called the Assyrian Apostolic Church. He himself is a Deacon of the church in Teaneck, New Jersey, the site of the seat of Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, the very same cleric who succeeded (1999) in changing the name of the St. Mary's Assyrian Orthodox Church in Worcester to "Syrian" at the expense of the Harput families who had built that church community during the 1920s.
George received his graduate education at Oxford University: he has an MA in Syriac studies. He studied with Sebastian Brock, the well known anti-Assyrian Syriac scholar quoted on various web sites, where he was a fellow graduate student with Susan Ashbrook Harvey, now the Syriac specialist at Brown University. Instead of continuing in Syriac studies, George got his PhD in computer science, hence his title of Dr. and his high profile involvement with Syriac digital fonts, the digitalization of Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox melodies of the Beth Gazo, the digital Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, and other works. Nothing in all this array of activity mentions Assyrians.
Whatever the native language of George's family may have been in Harput (many urban Assyrians in the Ottoman empire had dropped the vernacular Assyrian in favor of Turkish and Armenian), his first language now is Arabic, increasingly the language of the Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox Church. Trained in Church Syriac from an early age, when he is not speaking Arabic or English with community members, he can also converse in Church Syriac. When pressed on his ethnicity, he calls himself Palestinian.
The emphasis on the background of the person who is proposing the Syriac Digital Library is important because this project grows out of his personal concerns and ambitions. It is not a university project. It is an academic project in a very loose sense. If, God forbid, something happened to George, the project would either fall apart or more likely, revert to shelter wholly under the umbrella of the Archbishop in Teaneck, New Jersey, a possible next Patriarch of a church that, for the past eighty years, has tried to erase the name Assyrian.
The institution that sponsors the Syriac Digital Library is Beth Mardutho: the Syriac Institute, an organization headed by George Kiraz. Its Board of Directors are not mentioned in the literature that is provided. What are mentioned prominently are the following:
The Implications: The Identity Issue
We Assyrians with our origins among the five tribes of the Hakkari or in the Urmi/Salamas plain generally are confident of our secular identity as Assyrians. We accept, in fact glory in, our identity as Suryaya/Assyrian. For decades, those who call themselves Suroyo did the same. Then in the aftermath of the Genocide, when all of us were weak and driven into close contact with each other, we began to see differences among us: church differences, dialect differences, and most of all, social differences embodied in the relative integration into the larger cultural setting of urban dwellers and the independent lifestyle of mountain dwellers. Secular Assyrian identity, embodied in people like Naoum Faik, Ashur Yusuf and others in the Suryoyo community, splintered as the urban dwellers linked with the Church institution almost exclusively. The spoken Suryoyo, preserved for generations in Tur Abdin was prohibited by the Church from becoming a written language. Instead Church Syriac was promoted. On the initiative of the Church, many Suryoyo (Siryani in Turkish) are coming to regard "Assyrian" as a created term and the domain of the Church of the East.
Today, the people who come under most pressure to abandon their ancestral name and find it hardest to maintain their Assyrian identity are the descendants of victims of the Genocide in Turkey, the Suryoyo, who belong to the Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox Church. Whether in the Middle East or in the US, they join with other Assyrians to achieve our goals. They are members of the Assyrian American National Federation.
Of the original Assyrian churches on the East Coast, gradually all but one has been forced to abandon the term Assyrian and adopt Syrian/Syriac. The one remaining church, in Paramus, N. J., retains it name thanks to the legal training of David B. Perley. Another four churches in Sweden also have insisted on keeping the name Assyrian. The other five churches in Sweden, and all of the other churches in Europe and the Middle East follow the dominant church culture in the Orthodox community and use only the term Syrian or more recently Syriac. In 1999, the Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox Church changed its name to the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Here is where we have a problem with the Syriac Digital Library: the church name is now the name of our language, in the West, during the Christian period. If this were the sole problem, the confusion of church name and the Church Syriac as a language, we might be able to find some resolution. But the identity issue has further ramifications:
Suggestions for Improving the Project
No one should discourage an ambitious young man. But let us be clear: This is a person who will not call himself Assyrian nor should we expect him to have our interests at heart. We can benefit still from mutual aid where our interests converge. Through this project, there is barely minimal convergence at present. We should not support the project as it is. This project needs much honing to better serve our community. This is the prime concern. Here are some suggestions.
The project scope is far too broad and unclearly defined. The initiators of this project, and its church and academic endorsers, if they do not have a hidden agenda, need to think through their project goals and scope carefully.
These are among the leading questions any funding organization would demand to have clarified. We too should be asking these questions and getting clear, not obfuscating answers.
The goals and the methods as well as the institutional basis of the Syriac Digital Library remain far too ill-defined to merit support as is. Indeed, the chances are that this project could become a source of division rather than enhancement of our culture. To those who see the initial merits of this project, one can say, bravo for recognizing the need to make good use of internet capacity. But just because a technology is available does not mean we should leap into it carelessly. Perhaps George Kiraz will direct his considerable energies to re-examining this project as should anyone who is concerned with it. Take some time to examine how it can be enhanced to serve our culture and to bring us into cooperative arrangements. We cannot afford to divert funds from educational projects of real merit and long term benefit for something that is dubious in all but its superficial aspects.
AUA AT MARBELLA
Part 5: "Sunburnt"
The Assyrian Human Rights panel included a presentation by Dr. Eden Naby Frye. Dr. Naby is a cultural historian of Central Asia (19th and 20th centuries), with admirable credentials. She holds a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University (1975), with her doctoral dissertation titled "Transitional Central Asian Literature: Tajik and Uzbek Prose Fiction, 1909-1932." In the ensuing years, she authored several articles concerning that region (about Iranians and Afghans, as well as about Tajiks and Uzbeks). In more recent times, Dr. Naby has turned away from traditional academic pursuits, and toward greater involvement in valuable Assyrian projects. These include the continued promotion of the David B. Perley Memorial Assyrian Fund (which collects materials relating to the Assyrians since the 17th century), and the establishment of the Mishael and Lillie Naby Assyrian Lecture Fund (commemorating her late parents). Both of these Funds are located at Harvard University. In addition, thanks to Dr. Naby’s efforts, other lecture funds have been established (at UC Berkeley, and at Columbia University). Her greatest challenge may lie ahead, if she elects to tackle it. I understand that Dr. Naby recently agreed to become Honorary Editor of the Assyrian Star, the wheezing publication of the Assyrian American National Federation. Such a titular position normally does not require hands-on involvement, but any advice she provides should be of help.
For the observations which follow, I relied both on my notes, and on the helpful notes of other auditors. If the remarks quoted are not an exact replication of the speaker’s phraseology, the reader should know that great care was taken to retain both the letter and the spirit of Dr. Naby’s presentation.
Dr. Naby focused on "the Assyrian identity crisis," and she attributed this condition to three principal factors. I shall touch on these in the following order: ONE, religious and secular factionalism amongst the Assyrians themselves. TWO, Kurdish denial of our Assyrian name in northern Iraq. THREE, anti-Assyrian propaganda disguised as scholarship.
- ONE -
CLERICAL AND LAIC FACTIONALISM AMONGST OUR PEOPLE
According to Dr. Naby, one of the factors contributing to the "Assyrian Identity Crisis," is the disagreements about our name among the different churches and lay groups. Her explanation of this factor was somewhat brief. Dr. Naby was not entirely clear on the origin of the problem, though my notes suggest that she traces the current schisms to the days of the League of Nations, where various factions (Chaldean, Assyro-Chaldean, Syriac) failed to close ranks as one.
As another example of factionalism, Dr. Naby also referred briefly to the raging arguments which surrounded the Year 2000 census in the U.S. While it was not a part of her remarks, I was reminded later that Dr. Naby herself was one of the persons on the unity committee which asked the U.S. Census bureau to count all of us under the unitary rubric of "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" (also known as the "slash-slash" approach).
- TWO -
"KURDISH DENIAL OF OUR ASSYRIAN NAME IN NORTH IRAQ"
According to Dr. Naby, another reason for "the Assyrian identity crisis," is the Kurdish denial of our Assyrian name in North Iraq. In support, Dr. Naby cited the following examples:
(d) The characterization of Margaret George as a "Christian Kurd" in a recent coffee table book.
This segment of Dr. Naby’s remarks begs questioning from two standpoints.
First, I am puzzled by the decision to zero in on north Iraq, but to remain silent about the rest of Iraq. To begin with, the Assyrians of north Iraq (i.e., the area currently under Kurdish control) comprise just 3% to 7% of the Assyrian population in Iraq. And even if we disregard the demographic tilt, surely the current Baghdad regime poses far direr threats to "Assyrian identity."
It is true that news from the north is not always reassuring. Just recently, another distressing report of vigilante action has surfaced. Some of the details remain to be verified, but it appears that a 32-year old Chaldean Assyrian was beaten, summarily jailed, and denied visits by the Red Cross and UN personnel. According to his sister, the victim is accused of collaborating with the PKK (the Kurdish guerrilla group from Turkey), but she maintains that her brother’s major sin is to own a large tract of land coveted by the Kurds. According to some U.S. Assyrians, such lawlessness is carried out by elements of the KDP who use their feud with the PKK as a smoke screen to target Assyrians.
But another aspect of life in the north needs to be mentioned in contrast to the rest of Iraq. In the north, schools have been opened (authorized by the Kurdish authorities, but administered by our people) using modern Assyrian as the language of instruction. This would be utterly unthinkable in Saddam-ruled Iraq. Incidents of arbitrary violence and intimidation are obviously a source of great anxiety, yet it is clear that Assyrians in the north still fare better than under the Orwellian order prevailing in the rest of Iraq.
If one is to discuss regimes which pose the greatest threat to "Assyrian national identity," one is hard put to rank Saddam’s Iraq anywhere other than at the top of the list, with Turkey a close second. Inexplicably, both of these oppressors are ignored, while the "north" is not.
Second, while there may in fact be significant "Kurdish denial of our Assyrian name in north Iraq," unfortunately the evidence offered by Dr. Naby does little to prove it.
(a) The MRG Report of 1975 to which Dr. Naby refers was titled, The Kurds, and (as the title makes obvious) the sole concern of the study was the Kurds, not any other minority group in the area. Even so, the Report does refer to the solidarity of "Christian (Assyrians) … with their Kurdish neighbors … since 1961." In other words, the Report does not ignore the word Assyrian; it includes it. But even if it were otherwise, it must be remembered that the Minority Rights Group has produced dozens of Reports, each focusing on a different minority people. There is no reason to believe that the MRG, which enjoys an impeccable reputation for its accuracy and its commitment to human rights, is either obsessed with the Kurds, or that it is anti-Assyrian. Moreover, MRG Reports represent the best research effort of the MRG non-governmental organization. To use it as evidence of "Kurdish denial of our … name" implies that the MRG is just a mouthpiece for the Kurds, which surely Dr. Naby cannot mean to say.
(b) Regarding the statement of Abdullah Ocalan, Dr. Naby herself identified him as the former leader (now in a Turkish prison) of the PKK. But the PKK is a political/guerilla group comprised of Kurds in Turkey, engaged in a struggle against the Turkish government. In other words, the PKK and its leaders are Turkish Kurds, not Iraqi Kurds. It is unclear why this would be pertinent to "North Iraq." If one wished to demonstrate "Kurdish denial of the Assyrian name in north Iraq," it would be more relevant to know what the two leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan have said on the subject, namely, Barzani (KDP) and Talabani (PUK). Dr. Naby does not offer any anti-Assyrian remarks by either of these figures.
Notwithstanding her educated background and her significant job, I learned that this woman was unaware of the existence of modern Assyrians, much less their presence in her own area of responsibility. Like the U.S. military officer who spoke at Harvard, this UNICEF official knew about the presence of "Christian Kurds," but she did not know of Assyrians until I explained the matter to her. Since much of the north Iraq Assyrian population, such as it is, resides in Dohuk, the utter ignorance of the UNICEF officer in their midst is all the more astonishing. However, more than anything else, this would seem to say more about the failure of Assyrians in north Iraq to make themselves adequately known. While it is evident that both a U.S. military officer and a Dutch official at UNICEF were mistaken on the issue of our identity, neither of these individuals is Kurdish. In the absence of other evidence, it is unreasonable to interpret this as "Kurdish denial of the Assyrian name in north Iraq."
In addition, this book’s BIOGRAPHY Section includes a six-line entry for Margaret George, where in fact she is identified as an Assyrian Christian (p.378). Also, the book’s GLOSSARY (pp.382, et seq.) includes ample entries not only for "Assyrians," but also for "Chaldeans" and "Nestorians." All of this is also evident by cursory examination of the book’s INDEX, which includes several page references for "Assyrians."
- THREE -
ANTI-ASSYRIAN PROPAGANDA PRESENTED AS SCHOLARSHIP
Most surprising to me was the third leg of Dr. Naby’s explanation for our "Assyrian identity crisis" -- what she called ‘insidious’ academic writing. According to her, the miscreants include Dr. John Joseph, Dr. Sebastian Brock, and "writings from Oxford University graduates, by scholars of classical Syriac and of Syriac Christianity." She compared this flock to "blind men who fail to see the entire elephant," contrasting these "myopic few" to scholars of superior knowledge of Assyrian culture and language, such as those "at the Universities of Helsinki and Toronto." Here, she was presumably referring to Dr. Simo Parpola (Helsinki) and Dr. Amir Harrak (Toronto). Respectfully, I disagree.
I personally consider Dr. Joseph a distinguished scholar, one who has spent his entire career on the religious histories of "Nestorians," "Chaldeans," and "Syrian Orthodox." His scholarship has rankled many modern Assyrians – especially Church of the East adherents – starting with his Ph.D. dissertation ("The Nestorians and their Muslim Neighbors," Princeton University, 1957). Dr. Joseph has maintained that there is no significant evidence to support the proposition that the modern Assyrians are the direct descendants of the ancient ones. But any ambivalence on this issue is anathema to many of his kinfolk, and his skepticism has spawned a cottage industry of Assyrian critics, each seeking to voice a greater outrage than the next.
While she considers Dr. Joseph a "myopic" scholar, she is incorrect to pigeon hole him among "the few" to hold this view. Quite the contrary, his doubts regarding the historicity of modern Assyrians is anything but unique. In fact, it is shared almost unanimously in the academic community, and the skeptics even include Harvard faculty who are personally known to Dr. Naby.
Dr. Joseph is a familiar whipping boy for a group of Assyrians displeased with his research conclusions, and his criticism is hardly new. As for the censure of Dr. Sebastian Brock, I admit to astonishment. All of his colleagues consider Dr. Brock the gold standard in Syriac Studies. He is a man of immense learning, a prolific scholar, broad-minded, and generous to a fault. He is in greater demand than any other scholar at international symposia. He respects the Assyrian modern identity, and he has been a friend to the Assyrian community in Britain. Dr. Brock is one of a few scholars in the field of Syriac Christianity who calls the Church of the East with its modern name "Assyrian Church of the East" when he refers to the modern period, and he is known to encourage his students (‘the new generations of scholars’) to do so out of respect for the adherents of that church. Indeed, Dr. Brock’s bona fides are further validated by the news of Zinda Magazine’s support of the Beth Mardutho fundraising campaign for "Project eBethArké: The Syriac Digital Library." In partnership with several universities, this project will offer on the internet thousands of texts previously unavailable. According to Dr. Brock: "To have all this material that is out of copyright collected together and made available in this way, would be an immensely valuable service, not only to scholars working in this and the many related academic fields, but also to the wider public and above all, to people belonging to the different Churches of Syriac tradition."
Frankly, Dr. Brock should actually be lauded as a great defender of Assyrian faith and theology. His article "The 'Nestorian' Church: A Lamentable Misnomer" (in Coakley and Parry (eds), The Church of the East: Life and Thought, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 78, no. 3, 1996, pp. 23-35) not only calls upon scholars to stop labeling this church "Nestorian", but also presents its faith as "Orthodox" and not heretical. His published positions in ecumenical meetings of Pro Oriente should further impress Assyrians as a defender of their faith.
In fact, Dr. Brock's scholarship is not only appreciated by Western academics, but also by the Syriac-speaking world. The Pope, at the request of the Maronites, decorated him as "Knight of St. Sylvester" (a great honor in the Roman Church). The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Zakka I bestowed upon him the "Decoration of St. Ephrem" with the rank of "Commander", the highest decorative rank that the Syriac Orthodox Church gives to non-clergy.
For all of these reasons, one would like to know of the specifics underpinning Dr. Naby’s criticism of Dr. Brock and his Oxford progenies.
In contrast to Dr. Joseph, Dr. Brock, and their acolytes, Dr. Naby has praise for Dr. Amir Harrak of Toronto University. Dr. Harrak is a Syrian catholic by faith, and an honorable man I have been privileged to meet on several occasions. He is not only affable, but a hard-working scholar who has been especially productive the past 15 years. In reviewing the long list of his articles, one comes across terms such as "Araméen," "West Syriac," and "Early Syriac Christian," but it would be a challenge to find the term "Assyrian" except in reference to ancient history (his specialty). In other words, Dr. Naby appears to hold him up for his contributions to the issue of historicity (linkage of ancient Assyrians to the moderns), yet I have not heard him speak on this, nor am I aware that he has authored anything on this subject.
Dr. Naby’s admiration for Dr. Parpola of Helsinki University seems to be avidly shared by a number of pop historians in the Assyrian community, even if his thesis raises eyebrows among his academic peers. I must admit that my comfort level (as a non-academic) with Dr. Parpola was severely tested after learning some of his positions. For example, in a presentation at the 1999 annual convention of the Assyrian American National Federation, Dr. Parpola declared that, in the final analysis, the Assyrian empire had "never been destroyed at all but had just changed ownership," that the Assyrian Empire "continued to live on despite the fact that the Assyrians themselves were no longer in control of it," and that "many features and dogmas of early Christianity were based on practices and ideas already central to Assyrian imperial ideology and religion."
In closing I would note that Dr. Naby, clearly an Assyrian devotee, recently declared in another forum that her specialty lies elsewhere: "I am neither an Assyriologist, an ancient historian, a Semitecist [sic], nor a specialist on Assyrians. My field is cultural historian of Central Asia in the 19th/20th centuries." One appreciates such candor, and this might even explain some of the factual lapses and non-sequiturs in her Marbella presentation.
But clearly, by virtue of her academic persona, Dr. Naby carries a certain cachet which obligates a greater degree of care in her pronouncements. "When the Doctor speaks, the audience listens."
ZOWAA LEADER DISPUTES MUNICIPAL ELECTION VICTORY IN NORTH IRAQ
(ZNDA: Sydney) In an exclusive interview with SBS Assyrian Radio Program last week, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, Mr. Yonadam Yosip, denied Zinda's July 23rd report regarding the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party's election results. According to Mr. Yosip "no Assyrian won any elections by means of Assyrian votes in the municipalities mentioned in the report."
The area in Iraq, north of 36-parallel, is currently under the protection of the U.S. and British forces and receives economic support through the Oil-For-Food Program (UN Security Council Resolution 986) sponsored by the United Nations. A majority of the people in this area are Kurdish whose allegiance is divided between the supporters of Massud Barazani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the western areas and Jalaal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the east. The Assyrian Democratic Movement forces and majority of the Assyrian inhabitants are mainly located in the Barazani-controlled areas where the May 2001 Municipal Elections took place.
Based on the information received from the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party, Zinda Magazine reported that several BNDP representatives won the Municipal Elections. The ADM supporters had boycotted the elections in reaction to the KDP's "lack of concern for the rights of the Assyrian people in this region". The ADM (Zowaa) candidates were not represented on any tickets. Mr. Yosip, in his interview notes that: "the individuals mentioned in the report were not voted in by Assyrians, rather our neighbors. No Assyrian has won any municipal elections through the votes of the Assyrians alone. These individuals are KDP-sympathizers and they were voted in by non-Assyrians." Mr. Yosip explained that "We did not accept KDP's stand on the rights of the Assyrian people and are still working on this issue to help our people".
Mr. Yosip also denied BNDP's reference to a meeting in Salah al'Deen two weeks before the Municipal Elections where Massoud Barzani had allegedly told the ADM leadership that "he or his group do not represent the Assyrian population in the region and the elections are free, democratic and open to all political parties operating in the region." Mr. Yosip commented that he was sitting inches away from the KDP leadership and no such information was communicated during this meeting.
Mr. Yonadam Yosip is also a member of the cabinet of the Kurdish Regional Government. The new cabinet elections will be held in September 2001.
In response to Mr. Wilson Younan's question during the radio interview last week, Mr Yosip explained that there exist close economic ties between the north and Baghdad due to the dependency of the rest of the country on the water and oil coming from the north, and in turn the food received from the Oil-For-Food program from the sale of the oil in Baghdad. Mr. Yosip also commented that the commercial transits continue operating between Iran and Iraq in the East - the area under the control of Talabani's PUK forces. Mr. Yosip also put in plain words that at this time the Kurdish factions in the North are discussing their future ties with the government in Baghdad.
According to the July 23rd report published in al-Zamman Newspaper, the PUK and KDP announced, in a joint communiqué, their commitment to the unity of Iraq and their readiness to "engage in a dialogue with the Iraqi regime to solve the Kurdish question". A clear indication of the weakening of the U.S.-backed Iraqi National Congress, an oppostion group to Saddam Hussei, the agreement was signed by both Kurdish leaders. It demands the government in Baghdad's respect for and endorsement of the laws and decrees passed by the Kurdistan Parliament in 1992. The communiqué is also viewed by observers in the West as closer cooperation between the two rival Kurdish groups. On July 15, Saddam Hussein during an award ceremony commented that ""We wanted our people in Kurdistan region...to deal with the events and circumstances, good and bad in details to reach a satisfaction of their own choice." Until this year, Saddam Hussein had severed all ties with the Kurds in the North who have aligned themselves with the other members of the Iraqi National Congress, an organization established to topple the government in Baghdad.
Two days before Saddam's speech, Iraq's education ministry announced that it was about to send three million text books to school children in North Iraq. Hussein Mohammad Kadduri, Head of the Ministry's Kurdish Studies Department, told Al-Iraq newspaper that the books will be delivered to Arbil, Sulaymaniya and Dahuk. The move was "testimony to President Saddam Hussein's interest in his Kurdish sons and their culture, including knowledge of the Kurdish language in teaching," Kadduri said.
In his final comments Mr. Yonadam Yosip asked his listeners "not to trust everything that is printed in the Assyrian media" and invited anyone to North Iraq to "witness the truth first hand no matter whether you are a Zowaa supporter or not." Mr. Yosip also asked that the disagreements between two political parties, namely the ADM and KDP, not be interpreted as hostility between the Assyrian and the Kurdish people in North Iraq.
KDP ARRESTS AND TORTURES ASSYRIAN FARMER
(ZNDA: Chicago) Last week, the Assyrian Information News Agency reported that Mr. Youkhana Yalda Khaie, 32, a farmer in North Iraq was apprehended by the KDP forces and according to the United Nations (UN) personnel held in solitary confinement in a KDP political office. AINA reports that Mr. Khaie was moved to Fermandy Prison in Duhok. His fiancé, during two visits on April 20 and May 20, discovered that Mr. Khaei had been "severely whipped in the face and legs with a wire cable by two KDP agents badly scarred and unable to stand or walk." The AINA reports that the "extent of his beatings was so profound and disfiguring that Youkhana was removed from the prison for four days during an inspection by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) so that the extent of his torture would not be discovered."
Mr. Khaei and his family have denied any ties to the Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK) a Marxist Kurdish group and a rival to Mr. Massoud Barazani's KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party). In a brief analysis of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Khaei's arrest, AINA explains that "the predominantly Behdanani tribes of the KDP have conveniently used their blood feud with the Kurmanji tribes of the PKK to target Assyrian civilians literally caught in the crossfire. For its part, the PKK as it had similarly systematically done in southern Turkey, often enters an Assyrian village under cover of night and demands assistance by threat of arms. Fearing violent reprisals, unarmed Assyrian villagers are unable to refuse. Those villagers acquiescing to PKK demands then find themselves suffering violent attacks by KDP thugs the following day The underlying motivation of this KDP policy is to heighten fear and intimidation of Assyrians so that they abandon Assyrian lands."
Zinda's sources in North Iraq indicate that smuggling of food and provisions to the PKK-dominated areas in northern Bet-Nahrain has become a lucrative enterprise for inhabitants of North Iraq, most of them having no political or social ties to this separatist Kurdish organizations. According to one such report Mr. Khaei, under intense torture, may have admitted to smuggling cigarettes to the PKK areas.
While KDP has arrested many of its own sympathizers in an effort to curb the smuggle of provisions to PKK, Zinda sources in the North explain that none have been tortured in prison to the extent that Mr. Youkhana Yalda Khaie has suffered. Mr. Khaie was to be married two weeks after his arrest.
For AINA's full report visit [www.aina.org/torture.htm]
ASSYRIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS PRESS RELEASE ON 7TH ASSEMBLY IN SWEDEN
The Seventh General Assembly of the Assyrian National Congress met in Stockholm, Sweden on June 29 - July 1, 2001. Assyrian delegates from sixteen countries, representing Assyrian associations, clubs and political parties, were in attendance. The congress received a large number of supporting and congratulatory E-mails, letters, and telephone calls from Assyrian organizations, foreign governments, friendly Iraqi opposition groups and prominent individuals. The opening ceremonies were attended by several members of the Swedish parliament and by the head and officials of the European Branch of Kurdistan Democratic Party.
In the closing session of the General Assembly, the delegates renewed their commitment to the short and long terms objectives of the Assyrian National Congress and declared their support to ANC's continuous work in the international arena, especially its work with several organs of the United Nations, and its efforts to defend the Assyrian identity and gain recognition for the Assyrians worldwide. The delegates appreciated the close relationship of the ANC with the Iraqi opposition groups and with the Regional Kurdish Government in Northern Iraq to further our national objectives in the homeland.
The Assyrian National Congress believes in democracy and pluralism. Therefore, the Assyrian United Front, the political arm of the ANC, will open a new dialogue with other Assyrian political entities to invite them to the Eight General Assembly of the ANC, the Assyrian parliament. The ANC will strengthen its relationship with all governments and Iraqi opposition groups. This relationship will be based on join efforts and mutual interests to bring about a united, democratic and federated Iraq. This is of benefit Iraqis, including Assyrian people.
The Seventh General Assembly decided to form an Assyrian World Confederation, to function as the social and educational arm of the ANC. This Confederation will consist of Assyrian social clubs and educational institutions worldwide. A large number of such entities have already affiliated themselves with the AWC. The congress also decided to establish an Assyrian National Fund based on ideas formulated at the Stockholm congress. To further the aims of the congress in the field of education, a special ANC delegation attended the 47th Assyriology Conference sponsored by the University of Helsinki in Finland on July 2-6, 2001.
The Assyrian National Congress, was formed on March 17, 1983 is the only logical way to establish a truly collective and democratic leadership for Assyrian Nation. The Seventh General Assembly strengthened the ANC's structural plan and furthered its national objectives. We call upon all Assyrians to support the efforts of the Assyrian National Congress. This by the Grace of God.
The Political Bureau of the ANC published the following requests during the 7th Assembly from the Kurdish authorities:
1- A resolution to be adopted in Kurdish constitution pertaining to the
recognition of the Assyrians and Assyrians as indigence people of that
PB-ANC writes: "the above proposals are yet another step for Kurdish people and Kurdish authorities to prove to the Assyrians and to the world of their intention in creating a democratic federal system in the North. A democratic federal system should be for all its citizens including their major minorities. The Assyrian province (state) would recognize the Assyrians as an important minority of that reign with its full rights."
The following is a press release of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party from Stockholm & London on July 6, 2001.
This years annual conference of Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party was held in Stockholm Sweden and London, England on June 30 July 6, 2001 during the meeting of the 7th General Assembly of the Assyrian National Congress. Delegates from all eight branches of BNDP were in attendance.
The conference commenced with a minute of silence in honor of the Assyrians martyrs, including our party's martyr, the beloved brother Albert Okaro. Welcoming remarks were delivered by the President, Vice-President and Secretary General of the BNDP. Several reports from party branches and special committees were discussed freely and acted upon in a brotherly manner and in a most democratic atmosphere.
The conference deliberated on several topics included in its agenda,
The conference decided the following:
1- BNDP supports the idea of a united, democratic and frederated Iraq
in which all segments of the Iraqi society will flourish and live in peace.
The conference ended its meetings in London by appointing several committees to proceed with the implementation of its decisions. The BNDP Congress will be held next year.
ZINDA MAGAZINE STANDS CORRECTED!
In our last issue we reported that a series of Assyrian sports events were being held in Tehran, Iran. This information was based on a report by the Armenian AZG Newspaper. Last Friday the Assyrian Universal Alliance informed our office in California that the games are being held rather in Urmia, not Tehran. The event is hailed as the Tammuz Games. According to the same report more then 35 athletes from Dohuk (Assyrian Nohadra) & Arbil in Iraq and 37 from Armenia are participating in these games.
ASSYRIAN MARTYRS DAY COMMEMORATIONS IN CHICAGO
The 7th of August has been designated as a Memorial Day for Assyrian Martyrs. Although this observance is of a comparatively recent date, it has gained widespread acceptance among the Assyrian people. And this is justly so. Every nation needs to have a day set aside for the remembrance of those who gave their lives for the preservation of their cultural and ethnic identity. This is especially important for the Assyrian Nation, which has given so many martyrs in the defense of their national, cultural, heritage, and ethnic rights.
The following programs have been dedicated to the remembrance of the Assyrian Martyrs Day:
Tuesday August 7
9:00 PM - Midnight
August 6 - Friday 10, 2001
All Assyrian Radio & TV programs will have a partial program during their respected airtime
Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute (http://www.bethmardutho.org)
published today a special issue of its academic periodical Hugoye: Journal
of Syriac Studies on "Women in Syriac Tradition" (Vol. 4, No.
2). The issue is available electronically on the Institute's home page,
and in a printed edition available later this year. Membership to Beth
Mardutho includes a complimentary subscription to the printed edition
of Hugoye. To become a member, go to http://www.bethmardutho.org and click
Late in the fall of 1921, I ran into someone I had known in Persia-an Aissor.
Remember those dark little men who sat on the street corners in with shoe brushes? They also led trained monkeys through streets. These men are as ancient as cobblestones. They're Aissors-mountain Aissors.
One day I was walking down the street and decided to get my shoes shined. I went up to a man sitting on the corner in a wicker with the legs sawed off. Without looking at him, I put my on his box.
It hadn't gotten cold yet, but I was wearing a white rabbitskin and there
were beads of sweat on my brow.
"Shklovsky," said the man shining my boots.
"Shklovsky," he said, putting down his shoe brushes.
I recognized him. He was an Aissor named Lazar Zervandov, who had commanded a cavalry detachment of the Aissor army in northern Persia.
I looked around.
Everything was peaceful, except that the four black horses on the Anichkov Bridge were charging in different directions.
The Aissors lived in Mesopotamia, in the province of Van (eastern Turkey), and also in Russian Transcaucasia, around Dilman and Urmia. They're divided into the Maronites and Jacobites, who live in the area once dominated by ancient Nineveh, now the city of Mosul (hence the word "muslin"); into the mountain Aissors, incorrectly called "dzhelou" by the Persians (actually, that's the name for only one branch of the mountain Aissors); and into the Persian Aissors.
The mountain Aissors are Nestorians; that is, they don't recognize Jesus as God. The Maronites and Jacobites embraced Catholicism, but in Urmia, the ancient Christian, but heretical, souls of the Aissors were being pursued by missions of all denominations: English, American Baptists, French Catholics, German Protestants and a few others.
There were no missions in the Aissors' mountains. There the Aissors lived in villages governed by priests. Several villages form one branch-a clan governed by a malik, or chieftain-and all the maliks obeyed the patriarch, Mar Shimun.
The right to the title of patriarch belongs only to the branch descended
from Simon, the brother of the Lord.
The Aissors' home was in Persia and even those who had come from Turkey stayed in Persia, because in Turkey they would have been massacred by the Kurds.
The Aissors formed their own army.
Even under the tsar the Russians had recruited two battalions of Aissors.
Not all the Aissors went into these battalions; instead, they formed a
guerrilla detachment under the command of Aga Petros, who was no one's
My friend Aga Petros! We will meet again sometime here in the East, for the East now begins in Pskov, but before it began in Verzhbolovo; now it goes uninterruptedly through India to Borneo, Sumatra and Java-as far as the duck-billed platypus in Australia! But the English colonials have put the platypus in a jar of alcohol and made Australia part of the West.
No, never again will I see Aga Petros, since I will die on Nevsky Prospekt
across from the Kazan Cathedral.
Aga Petros was a stocky man with an unusual chest, stuck out if on purpose and decorated with the freshly polished gold of Order of St. George, First Degree.
Aga Petros had shined shoes in New York and just possibly had a trained monkey around the streets of Buenos Aires.
In any case, he had been sentenced to hard labor in Philadelphia. Back home, he had lived in the mountains as a bandit. Then he was vice-governor for the Turks and thoroughly pillaged the province. Then he became a big man in Persia. One time he got mad about something, arrested the governor of Urmia, put him in cellar and let him go only when the shah gave him a medal.
He was the unofficial dragoman for our embassy and commander of the guerrilla detachment.
The Russian soldiers had gone home-vanished as completely as water into the ground. They left a lot of guns behind.
The Aissors were armed. The Armenians had organized into a national militia.
They started disarming the Persians. Old scores were settled.
The first time the Russian troops had pulled out of Urmia (in 1914), the Persians massacred the Aissors who stayed behind because they had been fighting for the Russians.
The Aissors had taken sanctuary in the American mission, nder the protection of Doctor Shedd. Bread was baked at the mission to feed the refugees. The Persians added ground glass and filings to the flour and the refugees died in droves. It was like rowing a bomb into a small pond full of fish.
The guerrilla detachment of Aga Petros intensified still more enmity of the Persians toward the Aissors. Since most of them came from other regions, they had nothing of their own and we didn't feed them.
In short, they looted.
The guerrillas walked through the bazaar in their pants made from scraps of calico and their leather sandals; each of them had a bomb tucked into his sash. The Persian women pointed them out to their children and said, "There goes death."
As for me, if I had been in Persia then, I would have butted into this fight on the Aissors' side.
And I don't know why.
Is it possibly because in Petersburg I'm used to seeing the Turkish cannons that stand by the Monument to Glory on Izmailovsky Prospekt?
The Turks would have certainly massacred me-on purpose, not by mistake.
During the withdrawal of the Russians from Persia, there had been a skirmish. The Persians attacked the last Russian troops to withdraw and the Aissors attacked the Persians.
Aga Petros (I've just thought of his last name-Elov) put cannons on Jewish Mountain, which is just outside Urmia, and wrecked the town.
The Aissors generally understand the importance of occupying the commanding heights.
The Persian Cossacks had fought on the side of the Persians. They had been trained by Russian instructors as support for the counterrevolution in Persia.
In these battles, however, they fought not as representatives of the shah, but as representatives of the nation.
The Persian Cossacks were led by Colonel Stolder, a man with much influence at the Persian court. The Armenians and Aissors were led by Colonel Kondratiev and the Russian officers and sergeants who had stayed behind to help form the new national armies.
Many of them are in Mesopotamia now. They're splashed all over the world like drops of blood on the grass.
The Persians were beaten. Stolder and his daughter were captured and then killed.
The disarmament of the Persians began.
This was managed with artillery-forty to fifty shells lobbed into every village.
The villages in Persia are made of clay.
About thirty thousand rifles were confiscated.
Then the Kurd Sinko said, "Mar Shimun, come and see me. I too want to surrender my guns."
The Kurd Sinko occupied the Kuchin Pass-between Urmia and Dilman.
The Kurds have never had a state: they live as families and tribes.
The families form tribes, each governed by a khan.
Sinko wasn't a khan by birth.
He ascended to the Kuchin throne by means of intelligence and cunning. He duped the former Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, who had hoped to win a Kurdish unit over to the Russian side, and managed to get rifles and even machine guns from him and thereby rise even higher.
Sinko duped us constantly. Because of him we lost the hay stored in Diza. He had promised to give us camels and then didn't. He wasn't at all afraid of us. He said that forty Kurds could drive off a whole Russian regiment.
Aga Petros often recommended attacking Sinko's tribe in the winter, because when you drive these people from their homes in the winter, they perish.
Sinko wrote Mar Shimun: "Come and take our guns."
Mar Shimun took three hundred horsemen with him and they rode the fine horses just stolen from the Persians; he summoned his brother, got in his carriage and they all went to see Sinko.
The convoy rode into Sinko's courtyard. Mar Shimun and his brother went inside the house.
The Kurds started climbing onto the roofs and the Kurds had rifles in their hands.
The Aissors asked, "Why are you climbing onto the roofs?"
And they answered, "Because we're afraid of you."
"But why the rifles?"
The Kurds didn't explain the rifles.
Mar Shimun's brother walked out of the house.
He was cursing and he said, "There was no need to come and see this dog. No good will come of it. Let those who value their 7 lives go home."
But they couldn't go home and desert the patriarch.
The Aissors stayed.
It's not I who tell all this, but Lazar, Petersburg bootblack, commander of a cavalry detachment and member of the army council-a Bolshevik by conviction.
Later he came to see me and drink tea.
He was calm. There was a meeting of Opoyaz at my place that day. Zervandov took off his heavy overcoat and sat down at the table. He drank tea. He refused butter because he was fasting just then. Then he turned to one of my comrades and said, "Look where I find Shklovsky!" To him, I seemed exotic here in Petersburg.
Lazar continued his story .Then Mar Shimun himself ran out of the house cursing.
The officer-instructor Vasiliev gave the command "To horse" and then from the Kurds on the roof came a volley of shots like a bell, then another volley; then machine guns opened up.
The horses reared, men shouted-complete pandemonium.
Those who could make it set off on the gallop, but most of them stayed where they fell.
Lazar lagged behind. He had a big horse, which took fright so he was the last to gallop away.
He saw the patriarch running, running in mud up to his knees.
Mar Shimun was running in the mud without a rifle.
On his chest near the shoulder a wound-blood.
A small wound-not fatal.
"Lazar," said the patriarch, taking hold of his stirrup, "Lazar, these fools have deserted me."
Lazar tried to get the patriarch on his horse. Just then blood covered his head and Mar Shimun fell back.
The Kurds kept shooting, shooting from the roofs.
Volley after volley, friendly as a bell.
Lazar urged on his horse. The remnants of the convoy made their way through Kurds armed with sabers. On the outskirts of the village, Lazar's horse was killed under him and he was wounded.
Another bootblack, the one who sits on Nevsky Prospekt across from the House of Arts and sells shoe polish, also got away-got away seriously wounded.
They rode to the next Aissor village and said, "The patriarch has been killed."
At first no one believed it. Then they saw the wounds.
They rode back to Urmia, collected an army of fifteen thousand men and set out. They hurried, but it's far from Urmia to the Kuchin Pass and the road goes through the mountains; it's far, too, from the pass to Sinko's village and all through the mountains.
They arrived at night.
They looked for the body.
They found the body of the patriarch.
Undressed, but not mutilated. The Kurds hadn't cut off his head, which
meant they hadn't recognized him.
By morning, the Aissors had massacred everyone in the village.
But Sinko escaped.
He had scattered pieces of gold on the floor of his palace.
The soldiers rushed to pick up the gold and the khan escaped through a secret passage.
ar Shimun was of less than average height; he wore a fez wrapped in a turban and a cassock; on his chest he wore an old I Arabic crucifix, which he said dated from the fourth century.
He had red cheeks-a dark, rich red-the eyes of a child, white teeth and
gray hair. He was twenty-six years old.
He had a simple heart.
When the Russians were pulling out of Persia, he had asked us for rifles and cannons (we gave him about forty rifles), as well as 7 the rank of second lieutenant for all his maliks (chieftains) or else the right to confer the rank of second lieutenant; for himself, he asked an automobile.
Too bad we didn't comply.
Second lieutenant's epaulettes would have looked good on these men with their felt caps and their wide pants made from scraps of bright calico and tied with a rope below the knee; on this naïve and valiant army commanded by Mar Shimun, descendant of Simon the brother of Christ, those second lieutenants' epaulettes would have certainly looked good.
That's not Lazar speaking.
The Aissors were left without Mar Shimun.
The snow in the mountain passes is deep-up to a camel's nostrils.
But the snow had melted.
The Turks came through the passes and advanced on Urmia.
Colonel Kondratiev turned the Turks back with his Aissor and Armenian cavalry and took two battalions captive.
The situation seemed to have improved. Lazar complained to me about Aga Petros: "When you went to the home of a Persian, there you found already the men of Aga Petros. Aga Petros took much gold from Persia."
He complained further: "This Aga Petros was most interested in gold. He held a sector of the front and said that he had three thousand men; in fact, he had only three hundred men and the Turks broke through."
One Aissor cavalry unit was stationed in the mountains.
One morning the men went down to a stream to wash. On the other side
of the stream they saw mules and packs.
These men were startled to see each other at the stream.
If the Aissors had only seen the Turks come through the gorge below them in the night, they could have crushed them with rocks.
The Turks had broken through.
The Aissors had no shells for their cannons.
We had attempted to take all our ammunition back to Russia, but we simply abandoned it en route-we no longer had any use for it.
The small amount left behind had been squandered by the ecstatic Aissors when they bombarded the Persian villages.
They couldn't retreat to Russia: the route had been cut. In fact, the
Turks were already heading for Tiflis.
In Persia he had quickly acquired the necessary savagery and turned out to be a born leader.
With him went his wife, a Russian med student. All told, 2,50,000 people set out from Urmia-men, women and children. A Russian detachment led the way; the Aissors who had previously served with the Russians brought up the rear; volunteers from among the Ashurite (mountain) Aissors guarded the flanks in the mountains.
Most of the people marched in the middle with the women and children.
There was no road. It was necessary to go along the Turkish front or, more exactly, through the Turkish and Kurdish mountains.
On all sides were Turks and Kurds and Persians-a hostile, 7 choppy sea
of Moslems-with shots from behind the rocks and battles beneath the crags
in gorges where swift rivers flow through the rocks and rocks fall from
the crags, and crags, always crags- 7 the Persian crags like powerful
waves, like the rock ripples of an
The Aissors kept going because they're a great nation.
They left the gorges and proceeded through the mountains.
There was no water. They ate snow for twelve days.
The horses fell.
Then they took horses away from the old men and gave them to the young. It was no longer a question of saving individuals, but of the nation.
Then they abandoned the old women.
Then they began to abandon their children.
It took a month to reach English territory in Baghdad.
To be continued
Ancient Past Gradually Disappearing
In honoring the memory of the Assyrian Martyrs, Zinda Magazine withholds the content of this week's BRAVO section.
On August 7, join other Assyrians around the world in remembering the hundreds of thousands of individuals who lost their lives since the Fall of Assyrian Empire to preserve the Assyrian national identity and Christian faith in Bet-Nahrain and the Middle East.
The earliest known map was found at Nuzi near today's Kirkuk in Iraq, dating from the dynasty of Sargon of Akkad.
"One of the most horrifying massacres occurred in the year 448, in modern day Kirkuk. The King Yasdegerd II began a wave of persecution of Assyrians (and Armenians, in Azerbaijan) throughout Persia. A massacre of ten bishops and 153,000 clergy and laity took place in several consecutive days of slaughter on the mound of Karka d'Bait Sluk (Kirkuk). Local tradition still asserts that the red gravel of the hillock was stained that color by the martyrs' blood, and the martyrium built over the bodies remains to this day The place where this massacre occurred, to this day, bears the name of the Persian executioner, who was led by the sight of the endurance and faith of the people he was butchering to believe that their faith must truly be from God, and who joined them in their confession, and fate -- Tamasgerd was baptized in his own blood."
Introduction to the History of the Assyrian Church, Wigram
August 4-11, 1933
"The Assyrian population of the village of Simel was indiscriminately massacred; men women, and children alike. In one room alone, 81 Assyrians from Baz were barbarously massacred. Priests were tortured and their bodies mutilated. Girls were raped and women violated and made to march naked before the Arab army commanders. Holy books were used as fuel for burning girls. Children were run over by military cars. Pregnant women were bayoneted. Children were flung in the air and pierced on to the points of bayonets. In Dohuk 600 Assyrians were killed."
The Tragedy of the Assyrians, Stafford
Share your local events with Zinda readers. Email us or send fax to: 408-918-9201
A day to commemorate the Assyrian martyrs throughout history.
MARTYRS DAY COMMEMORATION & GENOCIDE
Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) Australian Chapter in collaboration with the Assyrian Australian Academic Society, the Assyrian Australian National Federation and the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, commemorate the Assyrian Martyrs Day.
ASSYRIAN MARTYRS, THEIR SPIRITS LIVE ON
An Assyria Youth Initiative
Drama "Smeleh" and other youth activities.
Collect your free badge from the Assyria Youth Association members in your area and please wear it throughout the week 6th Aug to 12th Aug 2001
For more information e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
FILM: "CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION"
University of Chicago's Oriental Institute
SARGON GABRIEL PARTY
Presented by the Assyrian Eagles
Basketball & Soccer Teams of Bay Area
For Tickets & Infor contact:
August 28 - Sept 3
ASSYRIAN AMERICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
A PERFORMANCE OF SUMERIAN STORIES
The Zi-Pang Trio
November 8 thru
March 17, 2002
AGATHA CHRISTI & THE ORIENT
Revealing Agatha Christie the archaeologist and how her discoveries in the Near East influenced her detective writing.
The hitherto unknown interests and talents of the great crime writer are told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these sites in the Museum's collections are combined with archives, photographs, and films made by Agatha Christie herself.
Personal memorabilia and souvenirs of travel in a more leisurely age are only some of the exhibits which range from first editions of those novels inspired by her other life to a sleeping compartment from the Orient Express, from a lethal 1930s hypodermic syringe to a priceless first millennium ivory of a man being mauled to death
Admissions £7, Concessions £3.50
West Wing Exhibition Gallery Room 28
MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
Middle East Studies Association of North America Panel
Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco
Dr. Arian Ishaya - Urmia to Baquba: From the Cradle
of Water to Wilderness
THE NIMROD CONFERENCE
Sponsored by the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
Cost To Be Determined
Contact Dept of Ancient Near East 020 7323 8315
Coincides with Ancient Near East week at the British Museum:
FIRST UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO's CSSS SYMPOSIUM
Sponsored by Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (CSSS)
Zindamagazine would like to thank:
Ninous Bebla Bila
ZINDA Magazine is published weekly. Views expressed in ZINDA do not necessarily represent those of the ZINDA editors, or any of our associated staff. This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals. ZINDA reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium. All letters and messages require the name(s) of sender and/or author. All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must be in 500 words or less and bear the name of the author(s). Distribution of material featured in ZINDA is not restricted, but permission from ZINDA is required. This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: email@example.com.
Zinda Magazine Copyright © Zinda Inc., 2001 - All Rights Reserved - http://www.zindamagazine.com